There have been many big lottery wins across the world over the years. As you might imagine, it can be tricky tracking down the details of some lucky winners. After all, if you’d just won more money than you could ever spend in a lifetime, you’d want to keep yourself anonymous, too.
Some winners have not been so cautious and have sought publicity and fame with their winnings. These are the lucky people who we’ve tried to follow to build this story of the world’s most successful and biggest ever lottery winners. What did they win and what are they up to today? Let’s check out the most substantial prizes ever paid out on the US Powerball and Mega Millions lottos, as well as the Euro Millions and find out.
The Powerball Lotto – $1.58 billion
The biggest ever win reported on the US Powerball Lotto is $1.58 billion. This is also the record jackpot paid out on any lottery, anywhere in the world. The jackpot prize was won on January 13, 2016. Unfortunately for the winners, there were three pairs of them, so a total of six people (three couples) shared the mammoth prizes. Even so, each winner still pocketing a life-changing sum.
Tennessee-based John and Lisa Robinson naturally upgraded their home to a multi-million-dollar estate, with its own cinema and a private lake to boot. Despite trying to go back to work the day after the win, colleagues treated Lisa poorly. Since then, they’ve pretty much kept to themselves.
Fellow winners Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt (from Florida), and Marvin and Mae Acosta from California have also opted for quiet lives. The first pair chose to maintain their modest lifestyle and remain in their own home. They still play the Powerball lotto, and seldom splash their cash. It is a similar story with the Acostas. They have kept a low profile, although they are known to be philosophers, helping with many good causes.
The biggest single win on the Powerball Lotto belongs to Manuel Franco, who won $768 million on March 27, 2019. This Wisconsin winner appeared to claim his prize and hasn’t been seen since. No doubt he, too, is keeping a low profile.
The Mega Millions – $1.53 billion
The Mega Millions is another one of America’s biggest lottos. To date, the record win is an $878.8 million prize which was won by a woman from South Carolina on October 23, 2019. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t stick around for the publicity. Instead, the winnings were claimed for her by the lottery attorney, Jason Kurland. All that is known about the winner is that she donated a sizeable chunk to charitable causes.
By contrast, we know that another $656 million was split three ways on March 30, 2012. Merle and Patricia Butler from Illinois were one couple in the set of three winners. Since winning their share, they haven’t been seen in public. This was no doubt in part due to their name being linked to scams. Merle was forced to appear to clear up the scams, clarifying that it had nothing to do with him.
The other big winners in that draw was a group known as The Three Amigos from Maryland, and an anonymous winner in Kansas. Little to no information is available about these lucky winners, as they also opted for anonymity.
One Mega Millions winner who hasn’t shied away from publicity is Shane Missler. He won $451 million on his own in January 2018. After winning, he posted online and found himself involved in a scam and a hoax. After the clear up, he was awarded his winnings and decided to travel the world. He lets everyone know what he is up to with his social media posts.
The Euro Millions – €190 million
Europe’s biggest lottery is unquestionably the Euro Millions. This lottery has produced some truly epic wins over the years. Moreover, its top jackpot has been won no less than four times. Unfortunately, winners are difficult to track down, as many rather wisely choose to remain anonymous.
On four separate occasions, a total of €190 million has been paid out to winners. On October 8, 2019, a UK winner pocketed the prize and decided to remain anonymous. Similar wins occurred on October 24, 2014, in Portugal, and on October 6, 2017, in Spain. On both occasions, the winner opted for anonymity. There seems to be something about October and €190 million jackpot prizes with the Euro Millions.
Only once has the Euro Millions €190 million jackpot been won, and the winners sought publicity. In August 2012, Adrian and Gillian Bayford won the equivalent of £161.6 million playing the Euro Millions. The UK couple instantly became amongst Scotland’s richest couples overnight. Since winning, they have acquired several mansions, invested in football, established a charitable foundation (the Weir Charitable Trust) and much more besides. The couple were amongst the biggest SNP (Scottish National Party) donors. They have proven rather unlucky in love, though, and their relationship broke down and is ending in divorce eight years after their epic win.
Other big wins in the Euro Millions have been plentiful. On June 7, 2013, two lucky winners shared a €187 million jackpot. It may not have been enough to see them break into the €190 million club, but these anonymous winners from Ireland and Belgium are no doubt living comfortably.
What About El Gordo?
Officially, all these lotto wins pale in comparison to Spain’s El Gordo, which has in the past paid out prizes worth upwards of €2.5 billion. That win even makes the biggest Powerball lotto prize look like chump change. At least, it would do if there was a single winner. Unfortunately, El Gordo is regularly won by entire communities with many hundreds and even sometimes thousands of people sharing the prize. Because of this, each winner ends up with far less than those prizes listed in this article, and so they don’t make the cut. However, even their winnings would easily satisfy most readers.